Updated March 2nd
Please note I have had to change my email address , which now is laurie.manser@gmail.com please use  this if you wish to contact me.
I do hope that some of the hints will be of use to you, I can only say what I do and why I do it
 as , there is not a right or wrong way of doing things in gardening .
I did write a small book about my life from a garden boy in the 40's and we sold it when I did my "Memory" talk, we donated 50p per book to the British Heart Foundation who received over £1000.00 as a result. I do not get it printed now but on the right is a link by which you can download it to read.
I have been asked to put my talk on to a disc for those who have been unable to hear it, I have done this and a few discs are available ,please email me for details.
At the bottom of this page if you click on "older posts" there are more hints

Garden Hints for March

          March is a very busy month with lots of vegetable seeds to sow when the soil is in a good condition. We should not rush just because of the date but work with the weather and soil. I write these hints a month before you read them so please work with your garden rather than me. If the soil has not dried out you really must wait as you can do more harm than good if it is too wet. The first sowing of almost all the vegetables can be done this month with later sowings to extend the season. Often we tend to sow too deep and far too thick, if you can make a very shallow drill with the tip of a hoe and then using the back of the rake just push a very small amount of soil on top of the seeds that is enough. I suggest using the back of the rake as the teeth are meant to gather the lumps and you do not want them on top of your seeds. Do not rush with tender vegetables unless you have a frame or greenhouse to keep them growing until planting time.Remember the slugs which will thin you seedlings if not eat them all. They keep taking various things away on the grounds of health and safety so I have to leave it to you to decide what you use but do follow the instructions and not over do it.
If you have not planted your sweet pea plants yet now is the time to get them in. I still like to grow them on canes as cordons so that I get good long stems but it does give you extra work as they will need layering as they get to the top of the canes.                                                    
 Whenever you are taking cuttings you should use a very sharp knife so that the cut heals quickly. Cuttings can be taken from the chrysanthemum stalls and dahlias if you want to increase or renew the plants. Many bedding plants can be sown ready for planting once the frosts are finished.
It is not too late if you still want to divide some of your herbaceous plants.
As your early daffodils flowers fade it is good to remove the flower head to stop seed forming, unless you are wanting to try raising some new flowers from seed but it does take a number of years but in any case please do leave the foliage for at least six weeks to help with next years bulbs.
There is a new idea for cutting back you autumn fruiting raspberries, where we used to cut them right down early in March it is now suggested that you cut the canes down by half, this gives you a crop in mid summer on the old canes and the new canes that grow during the season will give you the normal autumn fruit. I have not tried this but it does come from the RHS. A mulch round  raspberries and similar berries, will not only feed but also help keep the roots moist.
Once you can work on the grass without turning it muddy a high cut will tidy the lawn after the long winter. Once the weather warms up a light feed of fertilizer will help the grass recover from the bad winter.

2018 Sweetpeas

I sowed my sweetpeas on October 8th as I have done for many years, I have good germination 48 seedlings out of 50 seeds. I think there might be one or two to come up yet. They are looking rather drawn as with no garden or greenhouse I am very limited as to where to put them. I must single them out within a few days.
I have just singled the sweet peas into root trainers, there are 51 from 50 purchased seeds. They always allow one or two extras.

The second picture taken on Jan. 6th show sweet peas breaking with out being stopped , they are been outside ever since they were put into root trainers

My latest picture taken om Friday 16th February shows plants no waiting to be planted once the ground is suitable.

Sweet peas

Thse are my first bunch picked 25th May which is right as I usually pick chelsea week.
I went to my allotment this morning to check after hard frost. pleased to see sweet peas still looking good. They were sown on 8th October last year.

Potatoes ready for planting after at least ten weeks chitting, I will plant them on the flat so that I ahve plenty of soil for earthig up  and the potatoes grow through the centre of the ridge rater than come out of the side.

more onion news

More pictures to show the progress pf my onion sets. Top two taken 14th April

Onion sets just starting to  show, I plant well down in the soil so that no trouble with birds, having got rid of white rot I get a good crop.

Onion 2016


I am putting these pictures onto my website to show the effect of using garlic powder for white rot. When I first took over this plot I suffered a complete loss of my onion crop due to white rot, I have treated this area with garlic powder and this year they really do look good. I just need some sun to help ripen them up.

Sweet peas

It has been a bad year for me with sweet peas, I decided to try saving my own seed last year and this has been very reasonable but when I planted the plants back in March ,  the very next day we had storm Katie. This almost blew them out of the ground but enough survived to amke  best part of a row. As they came into flower I had bud drop plus a spell in hospital, this meant I had to let the plants go for about a week meaning bent stems. However when show day came I managed one vase of ten, these were good enough to bet  best in show so I still hold the cup which I forst won 42 years ago. I have not had it every year but will keep trying.

Some of my seedling daffodils

These are 3 of my seedlings that I have registered and named over the years. I have had prizes at London shows with them including "Best" in section with Ann's Blush. We also have Molly Ann named after our grand daugther
Top bloom Ann's White , bottom left Ann's Cream.and bottom right Ann.s Blush

Broad Beans 2016

Thess last two photos were taken on May 8th, the row is not complete as I lost a few in the bad storm but should get a good crop before the blackfly start
In past years I have sown my Aquadulce broad beans direct in the round in Oct/Nov but this year as the ground was very wet and in the past I have lost some to the mice etc. I have tried starting them in a tray. I have no greenhouse now so they have been in a cold frame. They are now ready for planting out and look quite good.

broad beans 2014/15

Broad Beans now in flower , they came through the winter very well.
Some of my Aqaudulce broadbeans , I sow in late October as they are a good hardy variety to stand the winter.  Sometimes they get damaged with servere frost but even then they will break at soil level.

Had some sucess at our show  Saturday April 11th. Many varieties were not out but using those that were I won 4 trophies along with 10 first prizes. I am very pleased as they are all grown on my allottment now having lost our agrden when we moved from the tied house. The pink trumpet is called Pink Silk.

Daphne in bloom , grown from seed

Daphne in bloom , grown from  seed

Top picture shows ready to plant early March

Now ready to plant early March

There seems to be a lot of chat about if we should chit seed potatoes ready to plant or not. I always say there are  many different ways of doing things in gardening, but just looking at the alterantives. If you do not  chit you have to  leave the poatoes in the bag which will give you  long weak shoots whereas the shoots are much better if laid  out, so I chit as in the photos.  I bought these just before  Christmas and they will not be planted for some long time yet. The larger ones will be cut when I plant them.

Onion White rot

I have mentioned before about having white rot in my onions and treating the soil with garlic powder.
I still had white rot badly this year (2014) but reading that others seemed to have more success I thought I would try once more. I am not sure where I got the garlic powder last year but when I got some more this year as used for horses it smelt a lot stronger than last years, so I have once more treaeted the soil and will see what happens next year.